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Monday
Mar092015

FinCEN fines Trump Taj Mahal $10 million for AML and reporting offenses

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) fined the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort $10 million Friday for willful and repeated violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey admitted to willful BSA violations, including lapses in anti-money laundering, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.

The resort petitioned for bankruptcy in September last year. The bankruptcy is still pending. The bankruptcy court approved Trump Taj Mahal’s settlement with creditors last week.

The casino has 2,600 slot machines, 204 table and poker games, a keno lounge, and a simulcast book. The hotel operates 18 restaurants, several bars, lounges, a pool, spa, and 2,248 hotel rooms.

Trump Taj Mahal is owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts. Donald Trump doesn't run Trump Entertainment Resorts. The company was formed after the Trump casino business emerged from the second of three bankruptcies. But he retains a 10 percent stake.

The resort has "a long history of prior, repeated BSA violations cited by examiners dating back to 2003," FinCEN said. In 1998, it paid a $477,700 civil penalty for cash transaction reporting violations.

"Trump Taj Mahal received many warnings about its deficiencies," FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery said.

Friday's civil enforcement action requires the casino to do periodic external audits to examine its anti-money laundering and BSA compliance program, FinCEN said. The audit reports have to be provided to FinCEN and the casino’s board of directors

"Like all casinos in this country, Trump Taj Mahal has a duty to help protect our financial system from being exploited by criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors. Far from meeting these expectations, poor compliance practices, over many years, left the casino and our financial system unacceptably exposed," Shasky Calvery said.

Trump Taj Mahal admitted in Friday's action that it failed to have an effective AML program. It also "lacked adequate policies, procedures and internal controls to monitor transactions for suspicious activity and file suspicious activity reports (SARs)," FinCEN's order said.

BSA regulations require casinos to report transactions that involve either “cash in” or “cash out” of more than $10,000 during a single gaming day. 31 C.F.R. § 1021.311.

Trump Taj Mahal didn't have any way to monitor data from slot machines for cash reporting requirements, FinCEN said.

The casino was on notice of the problems after examinations in 2010 and 2012 found similar violations. But it failed to correct them, FinCEN said.

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The Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Assessment of Civil Monetary Penalty In the Matter of Trump Taj Mahal Associates, LLC, d/b/a Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort Atlantic City, Number 2015-02 dated March 6, 2015 is here (pdf).

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.